Thursday, 11 June 2009

Engage brain, then open mouth...

I built a layout for exhibition purposes in 2005, naming it Valkova Road. The layout was designed to be a microism of contemporary Britain and was not set anywhere in particular – the aim was that the exhibition visitors could identify it with wherever they happened to live. The trains were almost incidental to the overall city scene. The model incorporated everything that can be seen in present day British cities – throngs of people in the streets, traffic jams, well known shops and companies, a theatre with constantly changing shows; a hotel, vibrant billboards etc, etc. It also served as a mobile advertisement for the product range I was making and selling at the time.

When writing exhibition guides, I surmised the layout as ‘a generic model representative of a typical British city.’ Generally the layout received very favourable comments from the general public (i.e., non-rivet counting fascists) whenever it appeared, but my favourite exchange took place at Renhold. An old man and his wife studied the model for some considerable time and seemed genuinely interested. I approached him, and he asked, ”Where’s this supposed to be set, then?”
“It’s generic.”
“Generic? I've been there, it looks nothing bloody like it.”
Keep on taking the tablets, Granddad.

When the layout appeared at Ilkeston, two visitors were overheard to say,
“Hey, this one looks pretty good.”
“Yeah, it’s ok, but there’s too much emphasis on the scenery and not enough on the trains.”

That’s the problems with cities these days – they just haven’t got their priorities right.

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